“As you wish.” – Westley “The Princess Bride”

Nine years ago today, on Sunday, August 29, 2003 I married my wife, Michelle. I was extremely nervous that day, but not because I was getting married, but rather because I was giving the sermon during the service and hadn’t given a sermon with her family present before. It also wasn’t a normal wedding, as it was planned and carried out in two weeks.

Michelle was living with me and my parents at the time and we hadn’t set an official date. My parents were having trouble selling their house, despite having a closing date on a new apartment for themselves, and then within a short time they sold their house and Michelle and I suddenly had two weeks to figure out what to do with ourselves. I already knew I was giving the sermon on August 29th, which was also the day before we had to move out of my parents’ house, so we asked if we could get married after the service. The timing was a surprise to everyone and it ruffled some feathers, but we pulled off a small, simple wedding in two weeks, had a reception lunch at a Chinese food restaurant we liked with a small gathering at home afterwards. Early the next morning we finished moving all our stuff into a newly rented apartment in Hamilton and, voila, married life began.

Like any honest marriage, it hasn’t been all happily ever after. I’ve had two severe, drawn out battles with kidney stones, one of which literally almost killed me. Michelle has been working hard to finish up her undergraduate degree in Art and Psychology, and now is close to having a post-graduate degree in art therapy. I couldn’t be prouder of her accomplishments, even if my illness and her schooling has made our finances far tighter than we’d like. The stress of being sick (and having to care for a sick spouse), the financial pressure, it’s led to some rough times, but we’ve always been honest with each other and worked things out in the end.

Even in the face of these struggles, it’s been one hell of a fun ride, even if Michelle has had to put up with more than her share of bizarre situations. For instance, I’ve managed to lock myself out on our apartment’s balcony several times while only wearing my underwear, which lead to strange looks from our neighbors and passers-by on the street below. I’ve several times put my wallet in the fridge while putting away groceries, only to retrieve it later and find it frozen solid. I’ve managed to somehow catch on fire several times through random instances, none of which should result in any sort of flammable situation. And this doesn’t begin to mention what I’ve gotten into outside of the apartment.

From ending up in Toronto’s Dyke March thanks to me getting lost (just me and 10,000 lesbians… nothing to see here), ending up in a private box at a Toronto Maple Leafs game  (and meeting the then-Commander in Chief of the Canadian Armed Forces), to being held upside down off my in-laws’ roof during a roof re-shingling, to ending up in a Communist Party of Canada rally (all I wanted to do was get from one city bus to another) to bizarre encounters with all sorts of animals from cats and dogs to llamas and camels, she’s stood steadfastly by, all the while saying “I don’t want to know why this is happening…”

She’s likened being married to me like being married to Homer Simpson, or Victor Meldrew of “One Foot In The Grave“. She said “the normal laws of this world don’t seem to apply to you. You’re a sad, strange little man”. I just nod in agreement knowing the burden of evidence isn’t in my favor for my day to day life being considered anything “normal”. Those random occurrences are what gave this blog it’s title, “Shaneisms”. That term arose amongst our friends to describe those far too often events that are so strange that they “can only happen to Shane”, hence “Shaneisms”.

There are days when I think Michelle deserves a medal of some sort for being married to me and putting up with all the absurdity. Maybe a Victoria Cross or a Purple Heart, or “Participant” medal like I’d always for track and field day in grade school… something along those lines. Several of our friends have expressed a desire to nominate her for the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts over the past decade.

As frustrated and tiring as it can be, she says she’s never been happier or had more fun. That’s a good thing, right? If so, Mich, then here’s not just to another nine years of wedded bliss, but many many more after that. Even if does end up being filled with everything from communists, to lesbians, to overly amorous camels. After all, our lives together can’t possibly get more bizarre than they already have, right?

Of course not…

Happy anniversary, Mich.